Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Protect Yourself When Making Repairs After the Storm

Remember to be cautious when hiring contractors to repair damage caused by the storm and to do your homework before signing a contract for any home repair or improvement, or tree service work.

The Office of Consumer Protection offers the following advice to homeowners:

~ Do not panic and hire someone because they are the only company that can come out to the house right away. Make sure the home improvement contractor is licensed with the Maryland Home Improvement Commission (MHIC) by calling 410-230-6309 or check online. Also, make sure the contractor is familiar with and has expertise in repairing the type of damage that your house has sustained, such as roofing or foundation repair.

~ For tree service or removal, check to see if the business is a licensed tree expert with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Forestry Division at 410-260-8521 or online at If a licensed company is used, there is a complaint process through the Department of Natural Resources. If an unlicensed company is used, it is often impossible to track down the company, particularly if they have been paid in advance. In addition, consumers should ask to see written verification of the company’s insurance and workers compensation coverage.

~ Get estimates from three contractors. Some fraudulent contractors will capitalize on the situation and overcharge consumers or lead them to believe the damage is worse than it really is. State law requires a written contract for any work completed. A home improvement contract should include the terms and conditions of the warranty. The manufacturer’s warranty should be a separate, written document. The contract must also include: the contractor’s name, address and home improvement license number; the approximate starting and finishing dates; and a description of the work to be done and materials to be used.

~ State law prohibits home improvement contractors from collecting more than one-third of the contract amount as a deposit. If the contract is signed in your home, the contract must allow the consumer three days in which to cancel the contract. Under emergency situations only, the consumer may waive this three-day right to cancel, but must sign a special form to do so.

~ Check the contractors’ complaint records with the Office of Consumer Protection at 240-777-3636 or online and the Better Business Bureau at 202-393-8000 or online, and with the MHIC and DNR.

For more information, call 240-777-3636 or visit OCP’s website.

Disposing of Tree Debris

Trees or branches may be disposed as follows:

On Private Property:

~ Tree debris on private property will be collected on a residents’ regular recycling day if it is no more than four-feet in length and four inches in diameter.

~ Bag or bundle tree branches and limbs or place them in containers, keeping bundles less than 45 pounds and less than 30 inches in diameter.

~ Tree debris (up to 500 pounds) that is too large for curbside collection, or cannot be bagged, bundled, or placed in containers can be recycled at no charge to single family home residents at the Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station, located at 16101 Frederick Road, Derwood. The station will resume normal operating hours on Wednesday.

~Another option is to contact a private company, such a tree service, landscaping or lawn service, for assistance in removing and disposing of storm debris. The Montgomery County Office of Consumer Protection cautions homeowners against using unlicensed home improvement contractors.

~Residents may want to check with their home insurance company, which may cover storm debris removal and disposal.

In the Public Right-of-Way:

~ Montgomery County Department of Transportation crews are collecting trees and branches that have fallen into the public right-of-way.
~ To report tree debris in the public right-of-way, call 311 (or 240-777-0311 from a cell phone).

If live wires are entangled in a tree, a tree is blocking a roadway, the tree is on a structure or if anyone is trapped under a fallen tree, call 911.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Council Meetings Rescheduled to Next Week

Here is the schedule of meetings/agenda items that were cancelled on Monday and Tuesday and will be made up next week:

Monday - November 5:
9:30 - ED Committee
11:30 - 1:30 Council worksession on Subdivision Staging Policy (3CHR)
2:00 - GO Committee
2:00 - PHED Committee

Tuesday - November 6:
10:30 - State legislative priorities - 3CCR
11:00 - Consent calendar and three appropriation public hearings: MCPS tech mod, Duball, and Ten Mile Creek (move the two ZTAs to November 13)
11:15 - 1:30 - Subdivision Staging Policy

Note - Presentations and Board of Health will wait until later in the month.

To get complete agendas go to the Council's website at

Monday, October 29, 2012

Tuesday Closures

Early Voting – Cancelled (Tuesday only)

Public Schools – Closed

Montgomery College – Closed

Montgomery County Government – Closed

Metro – Will not resume Tuesday morning

Ride On – Will not resume Tuesday

Montgomery County Parking Garages – Open (No charge. Meters are also no charge)

Federal Government - Closed

Montgomery Parks – Facilities will be closed, and classes and programs are cancelled.

Interstates and US Routes – Due to severe weather conditions, SHA has lowered speed limits to 45 mph; Avoid travel unless absolutely necessary

Shelters – Open
• White Oak Community Recreation Center – 1700 April Lane, Silver Spring -Humans and Pets
• The Activity Center at Bohrer Park – 506 S. Frederick Avenue, Gaithersburg - Humans Only
• Mid-County Community Recreation Center – 2004 Queensguard Road, Silver Spring - Humans Only

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sandy Related Closures

A recap of all the official closures over the next couple of days due to Hurricane Sandy are below:

Montgomery County Government: Montgomery County government will be closed tomorrow, Monday, October 29. Essential personnel must report to work.

Montgomery County Public Schools: Montgomery County Public Schools will be closed on Monday, October 29 and Tuesday, October 30, due to emergency weather conditions. All school and community activities in school buildings are canceled. Administrative offices are closed Monday October 29.

Montgomery College: College closed Monday Oct 29 and Tues Oct 30 due to Hurricane Sandy. All classes/activities canceled.

Montgomery County Recreation Department: All Rec classes cancelled Oct 29 & Oct 30. Pools will hold classes.

Federal Government / Office of Personnel Management: OPM has determined that due to Hurricane Sandy, the Federal Government will be closed on Monday, October 29, 2012.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Preparing for Hurricane Sandy

There is a possibility that Hurricane Sandy may impact the Washington D.C. region in the days ahead. Should predictions show that the hurricane will hit our area, officials remind residents that they should prepare for the possibility of high winds, power outages and flooding. The hurricane season traditionally runs through November.

Anyone who has not already signed up for the Countys Alert Montgomery notification system is encouraged to do so by going to and selecting the types of emergency alerts they are interested in receiving regarding weather, severe traffic, schools, park and government facilities, athletic fields and public events; along with the devices they would like the messages sent to (cell phones, text pagers, wireless PDAs, home and work emails).

During severe weather and all other times, residents are reminded to call 9-1-1 only in emergencies that threaten life or property, which include any type of fire or serious medical condition, when there is fear for personal safety or the safety of others, or during a crime in progress. Calling 9-1-1 for the wrong reason or calling the number inadvertently may keep someone else from getting the help they need. DO NOT call 9-1-1 to ask for directions; check on power, phone, or cable outages; inquire about road or weather conditions; check on the status of school closings; for information about public services; or to report situations that are not emergencies. If you do call by mistake, please stay on the line until the call taker can confirm that you do not require emergency assistance.

Whenever a hurricane threatens a region, a hurricane watch will be issued within 24-36 hours. A hurricane warning will be issued if hurricane conditions are expected within 24 hours or less. Below are some more preparedness tips for hurricanes and other storms:

Before a Storm
Put copies of important documents in a safe place, preferably a waterproof container. Important documents can include passports, birth certificates, insurance policies or anything else that might be needed immediately or cannot be easily replaced.

Have enough cash for a few days ATMs may not work during power outages and stores might not be able to take debit and credit cards.
Make sure vehicle gas tanks are full.
Secure or bring inside exterior items that might become windborne, such as lawn furniture, toys and garden tools.
Fill prescriptions that might be needed and stock up on any necessary medical supplies.

Keep flashlights and battery-powered radios with extra batteries on hand, along with a basic first aid kit, emergency food and water, and a non-electric can opener. Have enough non-perishable food and water for at least 72 hours.
Listen to the radio or television for hurricane progress reports.
Clean out gutters.
Turn the refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting in anticipation of a power outage. Open the doors only when necessary and close quickly.
Refrain from putting out trash cans the night before the regular pickup.

During a Storm
Avoid using candles for lighting. Use a battery-powered flashlight.
Never use a candle when fueling equipment such as a kerosene heater or lantern, since the candle flame can ignite fumes from the fuel.
Try to stay in an interior room or away from windows.
Stay calm and do not call 911 unless it is an emergency.
If flooding occurs, turn off electricity at the main breaker.
During a power outage, turn off major appliances. This will minimize losing power again through a power surge and protect the equipment when power returns.
Do not go outside. Flying debris from high winds is a danger. As the eye of the storm passes, there will be a short period of calm followed by rapid wind speed increases to hurricane force that will come from the opposite direction.

After a Storm
Do not touch fallen or low-hanging wires of any kind under any circumstances. Stay away from puddles with wires in or near them. Do not touch trees or other objects in contact with power lines.
USE PHONES ONLY FOR EMERGENCIES. Call 911 only for life-threatening situations.
Call police or your utility companies immediately to report hazards such as downed power lines, broken gas or water mains or overturned gas tanks.
Avoid areas subject to flooding, including low spots, canals and streams. Do not attempt to drive on a flooded road you can be stranded or trapped. The depth of the water and the condition of the road is not always obvious.
Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers, downed wires and other hazards.

For downed trees on public property, call 3-1-1 between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays (or 240-777-0311 from outside the County or from a cell phone) or go to at any time to report the problem. If live wires are involved, the tree is blocking a roadway, the tree is on a structure, or if persons are trapped under the fallen tree, call 9-1-1.
Trees that have fallen on private property are the responsibility of the property owner. The Countys Office of Consumer Protection advises homeowners to deal with established businesses only, and to call Consumer Protection first to check a businesscomplaint record. Consumer Protection can be reached at 240-777-3636.
For non-emergency police assistance, call the police non-emergency number, 301-279-8000.

If case of a power outage, residents are urged to take steps to ensure that food left in the refrigerator and freezer is safe. According to the United States Department of Agricultures (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service, meat, poultry, fish and eggs should be refrigerated at 40F and frozen food at or below 0F, which may be difficult with a prolonged power outage. Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature. A refrigerator will only keep food safely cold for about four hours if it is unopened. Food such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, soft cheeses, butter and leftover cooked meats, casseroles and pizza should be thrown out if they have been held above 40F for over two hours. A full freezer will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed. To be sure a particular food is cold enough; take its temperature with a food thermometer. Never taste food to determine its safety.

Do not operate charcoal grills, propane camping stoves or generators indoors.

Important Utility Numbers:
Pepco: 1-877-737-2662
Baltimore Gas and Electric (BG&E): 1-877-778-2222 or 1-800-685-0123
Potomac Edison (Allegheny Power): 1-800-255-3443
Washington Gas: 800-752-7520
WSSC: 1-800-828-4002
For more information about emergency preparedness, go to the County website,, check the Countys Facebook page, or sign up to receive County tweets from Twitter,!/MontgomeryCoMD.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Apply Now to Board of Appeals

We’re seeking applicants for a partial term on the County Board of Appeals. The term to be filled was held by Walter S. Booth (Democrat), who passed away shortly after being appointed to his second term on the board.

Get your application in by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 5.

By law, no more than three members of the board can be from the same political party. This position can be filled by a Democrat, a Republican, a voter who declines to affiliate with a party or a voter who is a member of another party officially recognized by the Board of Elections.

Current members of the board include Chair Catherine Titus (Republican), Stan Boyd (Democrat), David K. Perdue (declined to affiliate) and Carolyn Shawaker (Democrat). Members of County boards, committees and commissions may not serve on more than one such group at a time.

Members of the board receive $14,510 annually, with the chair receiving $20,508. Salaries are adjusted annually each December to reflect 50 percent of the change in the Washington Area Consumer Price Index.

Duties of the Board of Appeals include making decisions on most applications for special exceptions as provided in the Zoning Ordinance; hearing and deciding requests for variances from development standards contained in the Zoning Ordinance; and hearing appeals from certain administrative decisions rendered by county government agencies.

The board normally holds weekly hearings all day Wednesday and worksessions every other week. If necessary to accommodate an extended caseload or continued hearings, the board schedules hearings on other weekdays. Members are expected to prepare for the hearings by reading the cases to be heard and to share the workload of drafting and editing opinions or to follow-up on investigations on specific cases. Members work approximately 15-25 hours a week.

The principal jurisdiction of the Board of Appeals (concerning special exceptions and variances under the Zoning Ordinance) does not include the municipalities of Barnesville, Brookeville, Gaithersburg, Laytonsville, Poolesville, Rockville and Washington Grove. The normal Council practice is not to appoint residents of those municipalities to the board.

Send your letter of interest and resume listing professional and civic experience to Council President Roger Berliner, County Council Office, Stella B. Werner Council Office Building, 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, Maryland 20850. Applications can be submitted via e-mail to: Applications must be received no later than 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 5. It is the Council’s policy not to consider applications received after the deadline. After the deadline, Councilmembers will review the letters of application and select applicants for interviews.

Letters of application are made public as part of the appointment process. The names of all applicants are published and resumes are made available for public review. Interviews are open to the public. A financial statement of assets, debts, income and family property interests will be required of all applicants. Only the appointed candidates will be required to make the financial statement available to the public.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Life in a War Zone: Montgomery County during the Civil War

I’m a huge history buff, so I want to draw your attention to a fabulous local documentary. Life in a War Zone: Montgomery County during the Civil War chronicles the harrowing four-year period when troops from both sides of the war traveled through Montgomery County and when local sympathies varied widely. You will see lots of familiar places and hear many familiar names throughout the program. How good is Life in a War Zone? So good it won an Emmy. We will recognize Heritage Montgomery for this terrific achievement with a County Council proclamation on November 13. Check the listings to watch the program on County Cable Montgomery, or click here to see it on demand.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Town Hall Meeting in Potomac November 7

Join us for a Town Hall Meeting at the Potomac Community Recreation Center on Wednesday, November 7 at 8:00 p.m. A pre-meeting reception will begin at 7:30 p.m. The Potomac Community Recreation Center is located at 11315 Falls Road in Potomac.

Topics are up to you, but they might include potential growth and development in the area, schools, budget issues, taxes, traffic and the performance of power utilities, including Pepco, following storms. This is your chance to voice your opinions on specific issues and ask questions of us in an organized but informal setting.

The meeting will be taped for later broadcast on County Cable Montgomery (CCM—cable Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN, Channel 30 on Verizon). Susan Kenedy, a producer for the County station, will moderate the meeting.

For more information about the Town Hall Meeting or about the broadcast times, call 240-777-7931.

Bethesda and Rockville Named Bicycle Friendly Communities

Bethesda and Rockville have been named “Bicycle Friendly Communities” by the League of American Bicyclists, along with 27 other new cities, including Los Angeles and Miami. The two Montgomery County locations have been recognized for their commitment to bicycling, earning bronze status on the prestigious list of the country’s most bicycle-friendly places.

Situated between two of the most heavily-used trails in the County—the Capital Crescent Trail and the Bethesda Trolley Trail—Bethesda has seen a significant increase in the number of employees who bike to work regularly, according to Montgomery County’s Annual Commuter Survey.

The Bicycle-Friendly Community program encourages communities to evaluate their sustainability and transportation networks, while allowing them to benchmark their progress toward improving their bicycle-friendliness. The bronze award level recognizes a community’s bicycling promotion, education programs, infrastructure and pro-bicycling policies.

This designation is a terrific affirmation of our commitment not only to providing a variety of transportation options but also to ensuring a safe environment for bicyclists. This recognition is just the beginning, and we will continue to strive for excellence when it comes to bicycle connectivity and safety.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Apply Now to Study Compensation of Elected Officials

Apply by November 28 to the citizens’ advisory committee to study compensation of the County’s elected officials. The County Council believes that there is a need to examine present compensation levels for the Sheriff, the State’s Attorney, the County Executive and members of the County Council.

State law authorizes the County Council to establish the salary of the Sheriff and State’s Attorney for Montgomery County. The County Charter authorizes the County Council to set the compensation of the County Council and the County Executive for the succeeding terms of office. Changes in compensation levels apply only to future terms of these elected offices.

Currently, Councilmembers receive annual compensation of $99,069 (the Council President receives 10 percent additional compensation), the Executive receives $180,250, the Sheriff receives $154,000, and the State’s Attorney receives $199,000. These salaries are increased each year by the annual average percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers for the Washington-Baltimore metropolitan area.

The Committee consists of five to seven members appointed by the Council. The Council will strive to appoint no more than a majority of members from one political party, and therefore encourages Democrats, Republicans and those who decline to affiliate with a party to apply.

Send your letter of interest with a resume by Wednesday, Nov. 28 at 5 p.m. to Council President Roger Berliner, Montgomery County Council, 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, Md. 20850. Letters can also be sent by email to

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Proclamation in Honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Thank you to the representatives from Adventist HealthCare, Holy Cross Hospital, American Cancer Society, Nueva Vida and Suburban Hospital for helping us recognize National Breast Cancer Awareness Month with a County Council proclamation. Today we honored support groups that help women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Support groups offer a connection during an experience that can sometimes feel isolating; tips and information from those who have been through the same things; and opportunities to share knowledge with others. Thanks, ladies, for taking the time to come out today and for all you do to help women cope with this disease.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Apply Now to Grants Advisory Group

Apply by November 15 to the Council’s Grants Advisory Group. We will appoint the volunteer community panel to review grant applications and advise it on proposals received from the non-profit community.

The Council believes that a strong partnership with non-profit organizations is critical in meeting the County’s needs, so we have established a grants process in which the Council accepts applications from non-profit organizations seeking funds, forwards proposals to the Grants Advisory Group for advice and comments and then makes funding decisions during our spring budget deliberations.

It is anticipated that the Grants Advisory Group will be appointed in December and will be asked to report to the Council by the end of April 2013. Panel members will need to attend training sessions and review relevant materials during late January and February. The applications review will take place between March 1 and April 15.

The Grants Advisory Group will be asked to provide the Council with written comments on each of the grant proposals. The workload will vary based on the number of applications received and panel members appointed; however, it is expected that each member would review approximately 20 applications. Panel members should anticipate approximately six to eight meetings between the beginning of February and mid-April, with the potential for weekly meetings in March.

Volunteers for the Grants Advisory Group can come from panels reviewing Community Development Block Grants or Community Service Grants, as well as from other advisory boards or community groups. Applicants for the Advisory Group cannot be employees of, or member of a board of, a nonprofit group applying for Council grant funding. The Council will designate the chair of the Advisory Group.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Council to Honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month Tuesday

Tune in on Tuesday as I present a County Council proclamation in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Since BCAM began in 1985, mammography rates have more than doubled for women age 50 and older and breast cancer deaths have declined. That’s something to celebrate, especially since one in eight women in the United States—or 12 percent of women—will develop invasive breast cancer at some point in her life, making breast cancer the most common cancer among women except for skin cancer.

Montgomery County is fortunate to have many partners across various disciplines that not only raise awareness about the importance of early detection of breast cancer but also provide medical and support services to those who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. On Tuesday we will honor these providers.

By way of Tuesday’s proclamation we will show that we stand with the mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, and friends who have been affected by breast cancer, and that we recognize the ongoing efforts of dedicated advocates, researchers, and health care providers who strive each day to defeat this terrible disease.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Car Sharing Now Available in Montgomery County Urban Centers

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) today announced a significant expansion of commercial car sharing services at no cost to the County. Car sharing provides County residents, visitors and businesses with increased access to convenient transportation options that reduce parking demand and traffic congestion in the County’s urban centers.

To increase car sharing, MCDOT has provided public parking spaces for car sharing vehicles. The companies are paying established parking rates for use of the County parking spaces.

Two car sharing companies, Zipcar and Hertz on Demand, were selected following a competitive bid process that allowed vendors to choose locations that best fit their service areas and the types of vehicles they offer. Twenty-six vehicles have been made available at 13 locations in Bethesda, Silver Spring, Wheaton, Montgomery Hills and North Bethesda.

The new car share locations are prominently marked by signs and are listed below:

Metropolitan Garage, 7601 Woodmont Avenue, Bethesda
Bethesda Avenue between Woodmont Avenue and Arlington Road, Bethesda
Cordell Avenue between Woodmont Avenue and Norfolk Avenue, Bethesda
Ellsworh Drive between Fenton Street and Veterans Place, Silver Spring
Fenton Street between Colesville Road and Cameron Street, Silver Spring
Cameron Street between Georgia Avenue and Fenton Street, Silver Spring
Wheaton Market Place Lot, 11219 Grandview Avenue, Wheaton
Parking Lot, Seminary Road and Sutton Place, 1920 Seminary Road, Montgomery Hills
Executive Boulevard between Rockville Pike and Woodglen Drive, North Bethesda

Hertz On Demand
Metropolitan Garage, 7601 Woodmont Avenue Bethesda
Middleton Lane Parking Lot, 4538 Middleton Lane, Bethesda
Bonifant/Dixon Garage, Silver Spring
Fenton Street between Wayne Avenue and Ellsworth Drive, Silver Spring

Car sharing provides commuters or other travelers who primarily rely on transit, car/vanpooling, biking or walking access to a car when needed and can also save them money. The availability of car sharing may help some residents go “car free” or provide a second car for multi-driver households that only need occasional access to a second vehicle.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Apply Now to Merit System Protection Board

We’re taking applications for appointment to a three-year term on the Merit System Protection Board. Generally, the board is expected to oversee the Merit System and to protect employee and applicant rights guaranteed under the County Merit System. Get your application in by November 7.

By law, no more than two of the three members of the Merit System Protection Board may be of the same political party. The appointee to this term may be a Democrat, a Republican or someone who declines to affiliate with a party. In addition, the appointee may be a member of another party officially recognized by the Board of Elections.

The County Merit System Protection Board's mission is to oversee the Merit System for the protection of employee's and applicant's rights guaranteed under the Merit System. There are two methods in which the board processes appeals:
• A written decision issued after a review and discussion of a written record
• A written decision issued after a pre-hearing conference and a formal hearing in cases involving a suspension, demotion or dismissal

The board holds hearings during the day, which can take the full day, with any additional proceedings scheduled for subsequent evening(s). Also, the board normally meets for approximately an hour in the evening once or twice every month. Additional time is also required for preparatory work. Members of the board receive $7,594 per year, which is adjusted annually to reflect 50 percent of the percentage change in the Washington Area Consumer Price Index.

Board members are restricted in political activity while serving. Section 403 of the County Charter states in part "... No member shall hold political office or participate in any campaign for any political or public office during the member's term of office." Members of County boards, committees and commissions may not serve on more than one such group at a time.

Letters of application are made public as part of the appointment process. Letters expressing interest, including a resume listing professional and civic experience, should be addressed to: Council President Roger Berliner, Montgomery County Council, 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, MD 20850.

For more information on the Merit System Protection Board appointment, call 240-777-7979.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Need for Infrastructure to Support Bikeshare

Yesterday I sent a letter to the Acting Secretary of the Maryland Department of Transportation, Darrell Mobley, urging him to consider bicycle safety infrastructure, including dedicated bike lanes, in Montgomery County.

The letter explains that Montgomery County is currently developing a bikeshare program and encourages the County and State Departments of Transportation to partner to ensure safety for all bicyclists, especially for bikeshare users. The Maryland Department of Transportation contributed $1,008,000 to the pending bikeshare program in the areas of Friendship Heights, Bethesda, Medical Center, Takoma Park and Silver Spring.

Here’s the complete text of the letter:

October 4, 2012

Darrell Mobley
Acting Secretary of Transportation
Maryland Department of Transportation
P. O. Box 548, 7201 Corporate Center Drive
Hanover, MD 21076

Dear Mr. Mobley,

Thanks in part to a grant from the Maryland Department of Transportation, Montgomery County is now undertaking a plan to implement bikeshare in several locations throughout the county. We are grateful to the department for its assistance in helping us jumpstart the program, and I urge you to continue to partner with us to make sure the program is safe for riders.

Bikesharing has the potential to significantly improve connectivity within Montgomery County and provide an entirely new transportation option for many. As we encourage this mode of transportation, we must also make sure we have the infrastructure to provide a safe environment for all bicyclists and especially for novice riders who will travel at relatively low speeds.

To this end, I encourage MDOT to implement wherever feasible these improvements endorsed by the Washington Area Bicyclist Association:

• Buffered bike lanes--where sufficient space exists, provide buffered space between the bicycle travel space and vehicular travel space (or the “door zone” of the vehicle);
• Non-buffered bike lanes—where space is available, provide a bike lane with a minimum width of five feet, in keeping with national engineering standards;
• Shared use markings (sharrows)—where special constraints make the provision of dedicated space for bicycling impossible, provide sharrows to indicate the likelihood of bicyclists present and to show safe riding location within the lane;
• Conflict zone markings—where conflicts between modes are anticipated (i.e. where motor vehicles must turn across bike facilities) use green lanes to bring greater attention to the likelihood of cyclists, the bike facility and the potential for conflict.

Specifically, I ask you to consider placing bike lanes on Georgia Avenue from Spring Street to 13th Street and on the east side of Colesville Road from East-West Highway north to Georgia Avenue.

Additionally, I hope you will consider bicycle safety and install bike lanes and appropriate markings where feasible in these resurfacing projects scheduled for FY13:

MD 28 (Key West Avenue) - Hurley Avenue to South Adams Street
MD 97 (Georgia Avenue) - Emory Lane to Old Baltimore Road
MD 97 (Georgia Avenue) - Connecticut Avenue to International Drive
MD 97 (Georgia Avenue) - DC Line to Colesville Road
MD 97 (Georgia Avenue) - Glenallan Avenue to Connecticut Avenue
MD 185 (Connecticut Avenue) - Warner Street to Georgia Avenue
MD 185 (Connecticut Avenue) - DC Line to East-West Highway
MD 193 (University Boulevard) - Arcola Avenue to Colesville Road
MD 320 (Piney Branch Road) - DC Line to University Boulevard
MD 355 (Wisconsin Avenue) - DC Line to Bradley Boulevard
MD 355 (Hungerford Drive) - Mannakee Street to King Farm Boulevard
MD 355 (Rockville Pike) - Cedar Croft Drive to Strathmore Avenue
MD 355 (Rockville Pike) - Nicholson Lane to Old Georgetown Road
MD 355 (Wisconsin Avenue) - Montgomery Avenue to Jones Bridge Road
MD 410 (Ethan Allan Avenue) - Park Avenue to New Hampshire Avenue
MD 586 (Veirs Mill Road) - Andrew Street to University Boulevard

Again, thank you for all you do for transportation in Montgomery County generally and for bikeshare specifically. I look forward to continuing to work with you on these priorities.

Nancy Floreen
Montgomery County Councilmember at large

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Green Living Showcase October 20

I want to bring to your attention a special event highlighting local businesses and environmental organizations that contribute to Silver Spring's green economy, the environment, and a healthier, more vibrant community.

On Saturday, October 20th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fenton Street Market and Silver Spring Green will be teaming up to offer the first Green Living Showcase at Veterans Plaza in downtown Silver Spring.

A combination of thirty businesses and non-profit organizations will be on hand selling green products and services and providing educational information to help individuals and institutions reduce their ecological footprint. Stop by to learn about:

• Energy efficiency measures that save money
• Clean energy options
• Creating a sustainable landscape on your property
• Green cleaning products and services
• Environmentally responsible home remodeling
• Organic bath and baby care
• Composting
• Electric cars
• Organic pet food
• What local environmental groups are doing and how you can get involved


A.I.R. Lawn Care¬ * All Eco Design Center * ¬American Plant¬ * Amicus Green Building Center * ¬CASA de Maryland¬ * Chesapeake Climate Action Network * Clean Currents * ecobeco * ¬Eco-Coach Inc. * ¬Elysian Energy * ¬Friends of Sligo Creek¬* Karmalades * ¬Kenergy Solar * ¬Live Green * Minnick's * ¬Montgomery County Division of Solid Waste Services * Pepco * ¬Roll Out the Rain Barrel * ¬SCRAP DC * ¬Simple and Green * Solar Mowing¬ * Sport Chevrolet * ¬Sustainable Design Group¬ * The Abundant Backyard¬ * The Big Bad Woof¬ * The Cleaning Corps * The Compost Crew¬ * Washington Gardener Magazine

There will also be eco-demonstrations, artistic performances, and fun activities for kids.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Schedule of October Festivals in Montgomery

Thank you, Montgomery Couty Conference and Visitors Bureau for this list of festivals scheduled for this month. There are a lot of other events listed on the CVB's calendar, so check it out.

Germantown Oktoberfest
October 6 | Clarksburg
The Germantown Oktoberfest marks its 30th anniversary this year by supporting the Wounded Warriors Project. This all-day event features great food, wine tastings, a Biergarten, music, and lots of fun for the whole family.

Taste of Bethesda
October 6 | Bethesda
Taste of Bethesda returns on Saturday, October 6, 2012 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. and will bring more than 50 restaurants and five stages of entertainment to Bethesda's Woodmont Triangle.

Sugarloaf Crafts Festival
October 12-14 | Gaithersburg
The Sugarloaf Crafts Festival will return to Gaithersburg with 250 artists from around the country offering their one-of-a-kind handmade creations. The festival also returns with 400 artists on Friday, November 16 through Sunday, November 18, 2012.

20th Anniversary Oktoberfest at the Kentlands
October 14 | Gaithersburg
A lively mix of arts, music, food, and fun awaits when you celebrate Oktoberfest at the Kentlands in Gaithersburg on Sunday, October 14 from Noon to 4 p.m. This 20th anniversary event features Bavarian beer, food, music, and dancing, live entertainment.

Antique and Classic Car Show
October 20 | Rockville
The grounds of Glenview Mansion are transformed when more than 500 antique and classic automobiles go on display. Twenty-four car clubs, from Packard to Ferrari, are represented during this grand event, while auto collectors and enthusiasts share the fond memories of the classic cars of yesteryear.

World of Montgomery Festival
October 21 | Wheaton
The World of Montgomery Festival celebrates, explores and shares the diverse cultural heritages which play an active role in the lives of Montgomery County residents and communities. It will feature music and dance performances by County-based artists, food and craft vendors and a hands-on cultural education area, and health fair.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Early and Absentee Voting

Montgomery County will open five Early Voting Centers from October 27 through November 1, from 10 a.m.–8 p.m. (Sunday hours noon–6 p.m.) at these locations:

~ Bauer Drive Community Recreation Center, 14625 Bauer Drive, Rockville

~ Germantown Recreation Center, 18905 Kingsview Road, Germantown

~ Marilyn J. Praisner Community Recreation Center, 14906 Old Columbia Pike, Burtonsville

~ Montgomery County Executive Office Building, 101 Monroe Street, Rockville

~ Silver Spring Civic Building, One Veteran’s Plaza, Silver Spring

If you want to vote in the November 6 General Election you must register by 9 p.m. on Tuesday, October 16. Get your application by calling 240-777-VOTE or by visiting a county library, regional services center, any office of the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services, the Motor Vehicle Administration, or any U.S. Post Office. You can also download the application at or register in person at the Board of Elections.

If you plan to vote by absentee ballot, you'll need to get an application and submit the completed form to the Montgomery County Board of Elections (BOE) no later than October 30.

The good news is that you can get an application in any of several ways: online from the Maryland Board of Elections; in person at the county's Board of Election offices (18753 N. Frederick Ave. Suite #210, Gaithersburg, MD 20879); or by calling 240-777-8550. If you request that an absentee ballot be mailed to you, it will be sent after the county BOE receives your completed application.

If you choose to deliver your voted absentee ballot in person to the BOE, it must be received by 8 p.m. on election day, November 6. If you prefer to mail your voted absentee ballot, it must be postmarked by November 6 and received no later than 10 a.m. November 16.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Planning Smarter Open House this Saturday

Want to know more about how the Montgomery County Planning Department helps create great communities? Check out this Saturday’s open house to get a crash course in how good planning results in great communities. The event is particularly great for those who are not familiar with the Planning Department or the work that they do. Eleven exhibits will be set up throughout the building, focusing on the Zoning Ordinance Rewrite, Historic Preservation, three master plans including Wheaton, Chevy Chase Lake, and the White Oak Science Gateway, the minor master plan amendment process, a major development in each of the three geographic areas, interactive GIS maps and rapid transit. There will even be a city building activity for children. If you can’t attend but still want to learn more, visit the virtual open house.

Planning Smarter Open House
10 a.m.- 1 p.m. Saturday, October 6
Park and Planning Headquarters
8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring